DRI Abilene cancels annual pumpkin patch over COVID-19 concerns

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ABILENE, Texas (KRBC/KTAB) – After several residents became infected with the coronavirus and one died in March, Joel Paris with Abilene’s Disability Resources Incorporated (DRI) said since then they’ve been a closed campus, with zero new cases or outbreaks, a feat they’d like to continue.  

“And so, we have had to make a lot of changes to different fundraisers and to our mission and how we are going to fulfill our mission,” Paris said.  

One of those fundraisers is their annual pumpkin patch.  

“So, every year for our pumpkin patch we get around 1,000 volunteers to help unload to 18-wheelers of pumpkins, which will equal about 80,000 pounds worth of pumpkins total,” he said.   

Paris said in a past pumpkin patch, they made over $60,000 that helped keep expenses low for residents and their families.  

“And through other fundraisers, we’re not going to be able to make that up, so we have been trying to reach out to other churches, to other families,” he said. “And we’ve been trying to find other ways through the community, maybe by grants that we can help make up that difference.”  

But profit wasn’t everything for this program.  

“The pumpkin patch gives our folks the ability to interact with people and bring them out to their home,” he said 

After weighing safety over temporary excitement, Paris said they’ll have to outdo themselves next October.  


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